January 2007 Archives
January 28, 2007
Pedro Meyer of Zone Zero has written many wonderful and thoughtful editorials about photography over the years. His latest, "So where does painting start and photography end?", tries to explore the latest wave of this dilemma, especially given the painterly effects one can achieve so easily with a computer application like PhotoShop.
As usual, Meyer brings under scrutiny some of his own work, and includes several interesting historical references, such as the Francis Bacon painting, below. It makes for thoughtful reading. I recommend it.
Left: Photograph by John Deakin of George Dyer of Soho, 1964.
Right: Study for head by Francis Bacon of George Dyer, 1967.
An excerpt from Meyer's essay:
A lot of modern art is based upon the use of photography as a reference. Quoting Francis Bacon: "One thing which has never been really worked out is how photography has completely altered figurative painting." It has been clear for quite some time now, however, that photography has in fact influenced painting. And yet, it remains unclear how painting has been influencing photography in later days...
I believe we have entered a new era where the once defined limits between photography and painting, and their respective fields of activity no longer have very meaningful boundaries.
January 27, 2007
Camera Obscura Image of El Vedado, Havana, Looking Northwest, 2002, copyright Abelardo Morell
Cuban-born photographer Abelardo Morell has been converting inhabited rooms all over the world into settings for his topsy-turvy camera obscura projections. Recently he switched from black-and-white to color film — with astonishing multi-layered effects. In a great 9-and-a-half-minute exclusive audio interview with Lens Culture, you can listen to Morell as he talks about his new color work, and you can see a portfolio tracing his evolution as a photographer — including three new mural-size color installations.
January 26, 2007
Images: Klavdij Sluban and inmates of St. Patrick's Prison
The latest work from Klavdij Sluban will be premiered in Cohb, County Cork, Ireland at the Sirius Arts Centre. Peggy Sue Amison, director of the Centre and one of the key coordinators of the effort, had interviewed Klavdij Sluban earlier, for an exclusive feature in Lens Culture, which you can still enjoy.
Here are the details of the upcoming exhibition:
A project and exhibition completed in St. Patrick's Institution, Dublin
Photographs by young inmates from St. Patrick's Institution
and French photographer Klavdij Sluban
Opening Wednesday 7 February 7pm
special guest opening speaker RuairÃ O'CuÃv
Exhibition runs until Sunday 4 March 2007
Sirius Arts Centre in partnership with The Arts Council's Artist in Prison Scheme, The Irish Prison Education Service and St. Patrick's Institution, with French Photographer, Klavdij Sluban are pleased to present Double Vision an exhibition of photographic work by young inmates in St. Patrick's Institution.
Double Vision is one chapter of ten years of work involving Klavdij Sluban, and workshops in photography with young offenders. The project, first began in Fleury-Mérgois prison in France, has continued to develop with other detention centres around Eastern Europe and most recently South American and now Ireland.
The participants involved in this project discovered their own artistic vision within the walls of the prison.They were given the most basic photographic tool: a point and shoot disposable camera and were asked to envision their surroundings in new ways, to explore and translate their environment into a photographic language so others could experience what they see everyday while living in St. Patrick's Institution.
The grounds of St. Patrick's are virtually unknown to outsiders. Only the teachers, the prison staff and these young men truly experience the environment behind the walls, away from the rest of the Capital City.
Klavdij Sluban also photographs while working with his students, but only while in their presence which is what builds the "Double Vison" and makes this exhibition unique. The images are all originals, like the young men who made them. It is their own personal vision you see reflected here.
Although a negative can be reproduced a multitude of times, a photographer has only 1/60 of a second to create an image â€“ each one of the images in the exhibtion is 1/60 of a second of these young men's lives.
Double Vision was made possible with support from Arts Council's Artist in Prison Scheme, the Irish Prison Education Service, St. Patrick's Institution and Sirius Arts Centre. Special thanks to Denis MacSweeny Camera Shop, Cork, The Firestation Studios & the Red Stable Studios Dublin for their additional support.
All the mats and frames in this exhibition were also made by the young men in St. Patrick's, yet another positive outcome of this project.
It is planned that the project Double Vision will be expanded upon in 2007 in partnership with Sirius Arts Centre and Belfast Exposed. Workshops will be organised in Northern Ireland and it is also hoped that a larger curated exhibition will be organised to tour Ireland in 2008.
For more information please contact Peggy Sue Amison, Director Sirius Arts Centre at (021) 481 3790 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 19, 2007
"Ferenc, Budapest, 2005" copyright Arja Katariina Hyytiainen/Agence Vu
Copyright Arja Katariina Hyytiainen/Agence Vu
Copyright Arja Katariina Hyytiainen/Agence Vu
It was with great personal delight that I watched my friend Arja Hyytiainen step up on stage last night in Paris to accept the top prize for photography from Kodak. Arja is an intense, energetic photographer with a lust for life and humanity and experience that comes through in her gritty, grainy, uniquely personal work. She uses the camera, I think, as a form of journal for memories and experiences, and also as a way to get close to strangers and to help her come to grips with new and strange environments, behaviors, and foreign cultures. Looking through her photographs is sometimes like the guilty pleasure of reading someone's personal diary. The intimacy and distance she captures become experiences we can instantly share. I think of her as a very important photographer for the 21st century, and someone to watch.
The 31st annual Prix Kodak de la Critique Photographique was selected by a jury of European photography critics whose formal statement said (in my rough translation from the French), "For the jury, the work of Arja Katariina Hyytiainen shows a very original and intent gaze - sometimes disturbing - on fragments of life. Her work is based on a personal artistic eye and use of very interesting light to share her personal experiences."
Hyytiainen's body of work, "Europe - Scenario", invites us to share her ongoing voyage throughout Europe, researching humanity in a context of marginality.
About this series, she says, "Marginality, this zone of blur which can take any form - according to what people seek, the way in which they can react, and the meetings and events which it causes - are discussion threads in my work. My starting point in photography is to preserve a trace of things. Each experience leaves a mark, and a photograph can become a proof, fictitious or not."
Born in 1974 in the town of Turku, Finland, Arja Katariina Hyytiainen is a graduate of photography of l'Académie des Beaux-Arts and has lived in France since 2005. She is represented by Agency VU' in Paris. In just a few short productive years, she has gained acclaim, respect and admiration through Europe, in particular in countries of Eastern Europe where she lived and had solo exhibitions (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Moldavie, Slovenia). Her work has been shown in group shows in Berlin, Gothenburg, Cork and San Sebastian. She had her first three expositions in France just last year in Paris with Galerie VU', at an excellent group exposition in Enghien-les-Bains (Les Indépendances), and in Marseille (Atelier de Visu).
Lens Culture is pleased to present a selection of her work in the very near future, along with an interview with the photographer. In the meantime, you can see more of her work at her web site.
January 18, 2007
Grafitti made by cleaning away soot and pollution to reveal the underlying surface. Photo copyright Alexandre Orion
Yet another reductive form of art-making (not too disimilar from photography):
By selectively cleaning away layers of automobile exhaust soot from the walls of a commuter tunnel in Sao Paolo, Brazilian Alexandre Orion, created a vast and appropriate mural of stacked-up skulls. The not-so-subtle rebuke against pollution at first angered police, but there was no law on the books against "cleaning walls" even if the cleaning was "selective".
So, city workers were dispatched to eliminate the artist's statement from the tunnel, which they did by washing away his mural. But the artist merely returned and continued his practice on the other side of the tunnel, which had not been cleaned.
This kind of upstart art obviously demanded a more thorough form of censorship. Not only did Brazilian officials clean the entire tunnel but also every other tunnel in Sao Paulo!
Orion fears this solution is short-lived, however. The tunnels will be black with soot again in four months unless the clean-up crews stick to a regular schedule. As he points out, however simply, the real crime is the pollution.
January 10, 2007
Untitled (Beelitz), 2006, by Ingar Krauss
Photographer Ingar Krauss has been working on a new body of portraits documenting a new wave of immigrant farmworkers in Germany. Many of the workers are highly-educated (doctors, lawyers, etc.) people from struggling Eastern European countries. The images remind me of those from The Grapes of Wrath, or The Unbearable Lightness of Being. They seem a natural continuation of Krauss' portraits of orphans and juvenile offenders, which we reviewed earlier in Lens Culture.
The new work is on display in Milan, Italy at the Galleria Suzy Shammah, through January 31.
January 8, 2007
Images copyright Marcus Bleasdale
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the rarely mentioned site of the deadliest war in the world today. An estimated four million people have died there since 1998.
Ironically, approximately ninety percent of the deaths are due to disease and lack of medical care, not directly to brutal conflict or traditional warfare. Illness and disease are rife, malaria being the biggest killer. No aid workers are based in this region and no medical aid is available as it is thought to be too dangerous to work there. Two UN soldiers were killed and dismembered there last year.
Different militia groups and government forces battle it out on a daily basis in the east of the country for control of the mineral rich areas where they can exploit Gold, Coltan, Cassiterite and Diamonds. There are 18 major natural resources in DRC all of which at some stage have proved to be a curse on the people of DRC.
Photojournalist Marcus Bleasdale has just released a long, eloquent and disquieting sequence of images and information about the situation in the form of a QuickTime podcast, available for viewing on his web site: www.marcusbleasdale.com/podcast/. If you have the bandwidth, I recommend the hi-resolultion version.
He has spent more than five years covering the brutal conflict within the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Early work was published in his book One Hundred Years of Darkness, which was recognized as one of the best photojournalism books of the year 2002 by Photo District News in the USA.
He is widely published in the UK, Europe and the USA in publications such as The Sunday Times Magazine, The Telegraph Magazine, Geo Magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek and National Geographic Magazine.
Marcus has received acclaim for his work over the years, including the 2004 UNICEF Photographer of the Year Award, an OSI Distribution Grant in 2005 for his work with Human Rights Watch. In 2005 Marcus was named Magazine Photographer of the Year by POYi. In 2006 Marcus was awarded a World Press Daily Life award and won the Prestigious OPC Olivier Rebbot Award.